Fishing in Flagstaff Arizona
Fishing lakes around Flagstaff are considered small to medium size and are dependent upon rainfall and snow-melt from the surrounding high elevations. The lakes are rarely completely full and during dry periods, some of the lakes can become “marshy” with low depth. Only Mormon Lake has unlimited restrictions on boat motor size. When full, Mormon Lake has a water surface of about 12 square miles at an average depth of about 10 feet.
Lakes in Flagstaff
There are two clustered groups of fishing lakes within a 7 to 30-mile drive from downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. They commonly share scenic beauty surrounded by forest with views of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in Arizona. The lakes generally set at about 7,000 feet of elevation, creating four distinct seasons. See our Flagstaff Weather Charts, which show monthly rainfall, snowfall, and high and low temperatures.
|Lake Name||Types of Fish|
|Lake Mary||Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Northern Pike|
|Ashurst Lake||Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Crappie, Sunfish, Catfish|
|Mormon Lake||Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Channel Catfish|
|Kinnikinick Lake||Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout|
|Lower Lake Mary||Northern Pike, Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Sunfish|
Fishing regulations and rules may vary by lake, so it is important to check with the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the latest information on seasons, bag limits, and other regulations before heading out to fish.
Coconino National Forest Lakes
Lakes within the Flagstaff Ranger District in Coconino National Forest include Ashurst Lake, Kinnikinick Lake, Lower Lake Mary, Upper Lake Mary, and Mormon Lake. They are all accessible via Lake Mary Road which runs southeast of Flagstaff from Interstate 17. All of the lakes have campgrounds adjacent to each lake or nearby. Select a lake for more information.
Ashurst Lake – South of Flagstaff
Ashurst Lake is a medium size lake located about 22 miles southeast of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest. It generally holds water during long dry periods. Ashurst is a scenic lake with great views of the San Francisco Peaks. At about 7,000 foot elevation, the area has four distinct seasons. The temperatures are cool and refreshing in the spring through the summer into early October.
The surface area of the lake is 229 acres with an average depth of about 12 feet when full. Boat launches are available but the lake is limited to 10 horsepower motors.
Fishing at Ashurst. The lake is regularly stocked during the summer with rainbow and brook trout. Lunker Northern Pike also populates this lake and the Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages anglers to catch and keep the pike. There is no limit on a pike. Arizona fishing license guidelines apply.
If you prefer isolation without large crowds, Kinnikinick is the lake for you. It is the most remote of the lakes near Flagstaff and has only 13 campsites next to the lake. Crowds can never get too large since camping outside the campgrounds is prohibited within a one-mile radius of the lake. It does not have tall pine trees, but is surrounded by pinon and juniper pines in “prairie-like settings”. You will enjoy the scenic views of the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.
Quite and tranquil. The lake is located about 39 miles southeast of Flagstaff AZ. Water levels can vary depending upon rainfall and snow-melt run-off from the surrounding mountains. When full, the lake’s water surface is about 126 acres with an average depth of 22 feet. While fishing, camping, or hiking, keep an eye for roaming herds of elk and antelope. The lake has a boat ramp.
Boats are limited to 10 horsepower motors. It’s perfect for canoes and small rowboats. The lake is regularly stocked with varieties of trout including Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout. The lake is also populated with Walleye and Catfish. Arizona state fishing licenses are required.
Lower Lake Mary
Sometimes Lower Lake Mary is a lake and sometimes it isn’t. It depends upon the amount of rainfall and snowmelt. At various times it can be full, shallow, or almost empty. When full, it is a great trout lake and it also contains Northern Pike, Walleye, and catfish. Boats are limited to 10 horsepower motors. Elk frequent the area as do migrate fowl and bald eagles. Its sister lake, Upper Lake Mary is about 5 miles further south and is a much larger lake.
It is also the location of Lower Lake Mary Picnic Area which is a great area for family recreation regardless of the lake’s water level. This day-use area has scenic views, picnic tables, and cooking grills under ramadas. Parking is ample but RV and trailer parking can become limited on busy summer days and weekends. The Lake Mary picnic area is open from May through September. Day use requires nominal fees. and reservations are not available.
Sometimes it’s a big natural lake. Sometimes it isn’t very large. It fluctuates seasonally with rainfall and snow-melt. When full, the lake covers about 12 square miles with an average depth of only about 10 feet. So in dry seasons, it can become “marshy”. Located only 29 miles south of Flagstaff, it is convenient for those that enjoy wind sailing, camping, boating, fishing, or day picnicking. At an elevation of about 7,000 feet, the Mormon Lake area boasts four seasons of enjoyment including cross-country skiing during the winter snowfall periods. Surrounded by pine trees, views of the San Francisco Peaks, and bounding wildlife, the Mormon Lake Recreation area within the Coconino National Forest is an ideal spot for camping and hiking.
Dairy Springs and Double Springs National Forest campgrounds are located nearby. and offer great hiking trails of varying difficulty. Combined, the campgrounds have 43 single campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and cooking grills. Toilets are available. Weather permitting, the camping season runs from May 1 to the end of September.
Lakes Near Williams, Arizona
These lakes are within Kaibab National Forest near Williams which is about a 30-mile drive east from Flagstaff AZ, along Interstate 40. They include Cataract Lake, Dogtown Lake, Kaibab Lake, and White Horse Lake. Choose a lake for more information.
- Cataract Lake
- Dogtown Lake
- Kaibab Lake
- White Horse Lake
Fish Varieties & Features
Fish varieties vary by lake ranging from Northern Pike and Rainbow Trout to Walleye, Brook Trout, Yellow Bass, Channel Catfish, and Sun Fish. Considering the scenic beauty and tranquility of the environment, good fishing is a bonus. There are several hiking trails adjacent to the lakes.
The Flagstaff lakes depend upon rain runoff and melting snow in the higher elevations. The depths of the lakes can vary greatly depending on the amount of yearly rain and melting snow. The landscapes are lush and herds of deer, elk, and antelope graze the areas.
Each lake features campgrounds either at the lake or nearby. Boating restrictions differ slightly. Fishing can range from good to poor since the water levels can change dramatically. It’s always a good idea to call the ranger stations to check the fishing conditions or road closures.
Flagstaff, Arizona boasts a four-season climate. As an outdoor adventure paradise, any time of the year is a great time to visit. At an elevation of about 7,000 feet, the summers are cool and refreshing. Perfect for golf, hiking, and sightseeing. The autumn months are a burst of golden colors as the climate and weather prepare for cold temperatures and snowfall during the winter months.
- Average annual days of sunshine: 288 Days
- Annual rainfall: 22.80 Inches
- Annual snowfall: 108.80 Inches
Winter is a great time for snow recreation, family tubing, and snow-skiing at the Snow Bowl on the San Francisco Peaks. When spring approaches the meadows within the pine forests burst with colorful wildflowers and budding leaves.
If you’re planning to go fishing in Flagstaff, here are some additional things to keep in mind:
- Arizona Fishing License: You will need a valid Arizona fishing license to fish in any of the lakes in Flagstaff. Licenses can be purchased online through the Arizona Game and Fish Department website or at various sporting goods stores in the area.
- Arizona Fishing Regulations: Each lake may have specific fishing regulations, such as bag limits, size limits, and seasonal closures. Make sure to review the latest fishing regulations for the lake you plan to fish in before heading out.
- Fishing Gear: Depending on the type of fish you’re targeting, you may need different fishing gear, such as spinning or fly fishing gear. Make sure to bring the appropriate gear and tackle for the type of fishing you plan to do.
- Flagstaff Weather: Flagstaff is at a high elevation, and the weather can change quickly. Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions and dress appropriately for the season.
- Arizona Wildlife: Many of the lakes in Flagstaff are located in wilderness areas, and you may encounter wildlife such as bears, mountain lions, or elk. Be sure to take precautions to store your food properly and avoid attracting wildlife.
- Respect Nature: As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to leave the area better than you found it. Pack out all trash and leave the area clean and undisturbed.